The first job of our nightshift was to an overdose. Sometimes these are nasty, sometimes they are easy. Sometimes you know what the job is going to be like from the information sent down to our ambulance.
“55 year old man, overdose on diazepam and alcohol ?how long ?amount”.
My psychic powers kicked in and I predicted an alcoholic who had taken many tablets of a small dose of diazepam (a muscle relaxant and sedative) with rather a lot of alcohol. Probably nothing too serious in a physical sense, but it never hurts to get there as quickly as is safely possible.
The FRU was already there, along with the patient's sister. Our patient had drunk a *huge* bottle of whiskey along with around forty tablets of very low dose diazepam. He'd taken about double the daily dose which meant that he was going to be sleepy but it wasn't likely to be life-threatening. He'd still need to go to hospital to be sure and so he could have a psychiatric referral.
I asked the sister about the patient, was he a heavy drinker? She replied that he wasn't just a heavy drinker but that he was an alcoholic, it's not that I really needed to ask – one look at the patient's house told me that.
The patient had taken the overdose in the morning, then rung his girlfriend to tell her what he had done. She was out at work and so the message was left on the answerphone. In the evening his girlfriend had returned home from work, heard the message and phoned the sister who lived closer. The sister had called us and went around to open the door.
What I wanted to know was, did the patient really want to kill himself and left phoning his girlfriend until he knew she would be out in order to make sure he was dead before she got the message? Or, more likely, was he so drunk while taking the tablets that he didn't know what the time was when he made the phone call?
It never ceases to surprise me how people who take an overdose act. They take a handful of tablets, then phone a friend. They then act surprised when the ambulance arrives.
Thankfully this patient was drowsy and compliant (he was a big man and I didn't fancy wrestling him into the ambulance). He'd slept the day away, spent some time sleeping in the A&E department and the last I saw of him was him walking into the patient toilet.
So an easy job, a sensible sister and a puzzle on the nature of a phone call.
There might not be a post tomorrow – you'll find out why on Friday.